Sunday, November 22, 2015

JM - 12

This "JM" series was meant to be practice.  Instead, it's turned into some sort of quasi-journal that may or may not be therapeutic.  What the hell do I know?

JM are my initials, me, the guy behind OrbsCorbs and a dozen other accounts,  This, my friends and enemies, is my art.  Like characters in a book, I use my online characters, but the story doesn't end.  It just keeps going and going on the internet.

I majored in English in college and graduated 2nd out of the whole school.  Looking back, I should have double majored.  I wasn't sure of anything when I started college, but I was leaning toward the sciences.  I did well.  I earned half the credits toward a degree in physics.  And then I took an intro to philosophy course.  It blew my mind.

I decided to major in the Humanities.  Meanwhile, both the head of the physics department and the head of the philosophy department each called me in and tried to convince me to major in their respective fields.  I declined, and went for English.  That physics major would be much more useful in the "real" world, but now I was a "poet."  I cruised through my senior year, drunk more often than not.  My last semester was all independent study, which meant I didn't have to attend classes,  Each independent study was with a different faculty member.

An Irish poet, James Liddy, was Parkside's artist in residence at the time.  We took a shine to each other immediately.  I remember when I asked him what I needed to do to get an A in my independent study with him.  He said, "Buy me a drink."  James went on to join the faculty at UWM and I visited him occasionally.  He died a few years back from kidney failure (cue creepy music).  What a mentor!  He gave me his knowledge and, apparently, his diseases. [From JSOnline: "Irish poet Liddy was 'classic Bohemian.'" - Read more: http://www.jsonline.com/news/obituaries/34240804.html]

The dean of the school called me in one day.  For the first time, Parkside students were allowed to apply for a Rhodes Scholarship.  Only I and the guy who graduated in first place had a chance.  I again declined because, although I certainly had the academic credentials, I had nothing in sports or community work  The other guy declined, too, but I don't know why.

While in school and afterward, I wrote a lot.  But as my drinking increased, my writing waned. After a few years, I was hardly writing at all, but drinking like a fiend.

I married a visual artist, and she had a fondness for port wine.  At first, we had a lovely time drinking together.  Later, we broke up because of my drinking and drugging and her infidelity.

When I finally sobered up in AA, I was 42-years old.  I started writing again, a little, but I wasn't driven.

Then the Internet showed up.  Damn!  I could write like crazy online and the landscape changed every day.  When that happened, a once-friend said to me, "You were only waiting for your medium."  That rang true with me.

I had a ball.  I even wrote to the mayor as one of my characters, and Tom Friedel responded.  I wove my characters in and out of discussions.  Locally, my first postings were on the old Journal Times site.  As founding members of the JT Irregulars remember, it got ugly between the Journal Times and the bloggers.  The JT deleted anything they didn't like and even started editing posts.  "Freedom of speech" is bullshit at the JT.  It was difficult to believe at first how petty the JT became, but they did.  We tried to negotiate with them, offering to meet for a discussion.  No way.  So we went "on strike" for a week, posting nothing on the JT site.  Still nothing changed.  I was awestruck by how some petty people from out of town were trying to squelch residents' posts.  That fucking "newspaper" doesn't even know the layout of our streets, but they were going to tell us what was happening in our city.  Thus, the JT Irregulars were born.  We started our own site and haven't looked back in 7-1/2 years.

I had quite a few laughs at the JT's expense.  I was easily the most banned character on the site, but I would just come back with another character.  "Madame Zoltar" was born out of this, not to mention OrbsO'Corbs and others.  Not to be too narcissistic, but some of my characters have made me laugh and laugh.  They're my children.  They thrive all over the net.

If you pay attention to any of the real news in Racine, it's depressing as hell.  Corruption at all levels of local government is flagrant and lying John pisses on the residents regularly to show his might.  The Journal Times is his accomplice in this, printing propaganda and lies.

So, what does all this mean?  It means what I said before: this is my art, and my characters are figures in that art.  I love posting online because whatever is posted, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people see it.  You're a wonderful audience and I expect my characters to grow with time.  Thank you for reading my rants, my jokes, my sorrows, and my madness.  It's all real.  I has to be: it's on the Internet.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Rode scholar,
I got rode hard and put away wet
and like you I don't know where the rider went

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that you were almost a rocket scientist, but I should have

nice piece of writing

OrbsCorbs said...

Thank you very much. I coulda been working with hale-bopp.

With the brain I had back then, I could have applied myself to any discipline. So I decided to be a professional alcoholic.

What I should have done, English major or Physics, was to continue my education in graduate school. Back then, a PhD got you pretty far. Find a school that you like that needs help in your specialty. Work for them. If you like it, go for tenure, have a good life. As my college chemistry professor said to me years later when we met again in AA, "Once you have lecture notes for whatever you teach, that's it. You can cruise through classes, get 3 months off a year, and receive good pay and benefits."

In many universities, you have to "Publish or Perish!" That is, write scholarly articles for scholarly magazines. But if my chemistry professor could do it while almost blackout drunk, how hard can it be?